Monday, December 15, 2008

David Patterson SNL Parody- Did it go too far?

A recent sketch by Saturday Night Live has drawn some criticism for its portrayal of David Patterson, the Governor of NY who is blind. Quoted in the LA Times, Patterson said "I can take a joke," Paterson told the Daily News on Sunday. "But only 37% of disabled people are working, and I'm afraid that that kind of third-grade humor certainly adds to this atmosphere."

The National Federation for the Blind was also quoted as saying "The biggest problem faced by blind people is not blindness itself, but the stereotypes held by the general public," spokesman Chris Danielsen said. "The idea that blind people are incapable of the simplest tasks and are perpetually disoriented and befuddled is absolutely wrong."

Read my opinion after the video

Did SNL go too far? I'm not sure if too far is the right phrase. They didn't do anything original, this was juvenile humor. The cliches they missed was him walking into a wall, or being surprised that he was black (ha, ha, didn't know he was black because he's BLIND! yawn).
Aside from this poorly written skit, it raises a good question about the use of real or fictionalized characters with disabilities in humor. Is it okay to use someone's disability in a humorous skit? How? What would make it too far? What about the character's comments about someone "with a gamy arm...giant gums with the tiny teeth", is that humor?

Ultimately, I'd love to see David Patterson go on SNL and show them was humor is. The little I've seen him speak, he appears to have quite a sense of humor and can laugh at himself. He also seems to have a good sense of how far is too far and how they could use his blindness in a skit.

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